At the start of every year, we all make a whole bunch of stupid promises to ourselves that we’ll do something we meant to do last year, this upcoming year. Sometimes we stick to them and they can be life changing, such as resolving to start working out more or adopting better eating habits – but more often than not they’re simply vain, petty, or completely unrealistic, so we just give up on them after just a few weeks. Instead of wasting my resolution on something that I’m probably not going to stick with, I’ve decided I’m going to choose something that’s a little easier to adhere to: This year I’m making all my resolutions around gaming – both writing about games and actually playing them.
Resolution #1: Stop creating ridiculous backlogs. I’m really bad about buying games that I know I’ll never have time to play. Steam, Gamer’s Gate, Green Man Gaming, Amazon, and other online digital retailers make not buying games so difficult because they often run the PC version for such deep discounts it’s almost impossible to say no to. I’ve got like 120 games on my Steam account, and I’m pretty sure I’ve played less than half of them; and only completed a very small handful of them. As a game reviewer, my backlog gets pretty big during the big release clusters and it’s even dumber to keep buying games, yet I keep on doing it because eventually I’m sure I’ll have time for it. Isn’t that right, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning and Sleeping Dogs?
Resolution #2: Write more. For me, it’s not always easy to put enough words to a page. I’m often hung up on the idea that a game review should be at least 700 or more words, otherwise you’re not giving it an equal amount of time in the spotlight as you would something that’s “better”. Instead of refusing to publish a review for an indie game because I can’t find more than 500 words to say about it, I’m going to just post it instead of praising it on Twitter and never actually giving it proper documentation. If it’s short, so be it. Most people only care about the score, so why does it matter if I can accomplish the goal in 30 minutes or three hours? Just write. Post something and post it on time, damn the consequences if people didn’t think I gave it enough time. Publish it, and worry about the backlash later. I figure if OXM can post a review for something with five sentences, I’m obviously overthinking it. Writing more editorials, like this one, would also be helpful.
Resolution #3: Improve my League of Legends perspective. If you look for things I’ve written around here, it’s all content related to League of Legends. For a game I didn’t think I’d really get into at first, I’ve become absolutely enamored with it. I play daily if at all possible, and on my off days, I spend the majority of my waking hours playing it. I’ve got over 1100 hours logged on Raptr, and that’s ridiculous considering I’ve only been playing for a little over a year. Perhaps it’s the highly competitive nature of the game, or maybe just the intense amount of strategic thinking that’s involved in each match. Very rarely do we play a game where I can sheepishly click around with very little consequence. LoL (and other similar strategy games) almost always demands intense focus and concentration in order to play your best, and for me it’s like playing Chess. I’m always anticipating the enemies next move and my impatience usually winds up being my biggest downfall. In regards to League, I hope to start looking at it less seriously. I’ve been playing ranked exclusively while solo and I’ve been losing – a lot. Solo queue is a scary place to be right now because of the holiday break. At my ELO (~1000) 9/10 games you’ll have someone who just wants to troll on your team, creating a 4v5 game and you’ve got no choice to surrender at 20 minutes. Simply put, it’s ridiculous to get upset with these people. Players are matched by Riot’s automated assessment of skill, and if their system says I’m meant to play with people who aren’t good, then that’s how it goes. Instead of being angry that they’re throwing the game, I’ll try to work on doing a better job on my end to carry and fix their mistakes. If I lose, I lose. I’m not a pro player, and no one watches my stream; so there’s no reason I need to be upset that I’m not 1200 or higher. Keep playing, keep trying, and don’t let failure consume me. Seems odd that my goals for LoL are also goals I’ve been trying to set in my everyday life, doesn’t it?
Resolution #4: Continue to network and never give up, even when those that should support you tell you that you’re wasting your time. As an independant games writer, it’s a tough market. There are so many gaming websites these days, it’s extremely difficult to garner a larger audience. Because of that, when I see I’ve got new followers on Twitter, I try to look at their timelines and see if they’re active users. If they are, I will typically follow them back to try and connect to people who might be interested in what I have to say. Am I going to be able to get to a point where I can write about gaming to make a living without having to work a normal day job? It’s unlikely, but being passionate about video games is something I’ve always had in me. I’d rather argue about why Mass Effect 2 turned the series to shit than have to try and uncover what I thought the real story behind The Great Gatsby was. Some people register with different mediums in different ways. Most people will come home from work and watch some TV, watch a movie, or read a book to unwind. I’d prefer seeing what happens after I choke out the old guy in the strip club in Hitman: Absolution. Games have always been that thing that clicked with me. I’ve seen several great films and read some fantastic books, but nothing sticks with me the way games do. I cried more at the end of Final Fantasy X than I did when the dog died in Marley and Me. Emotion is a powerful thing, and video games have just always had that effect on me. The title theme from Uncharted still gives me goosebumps because of my love for the series, in the same way that I can easily recall Protoman’s whistle from Mega Man without even thinking about it.
Resolution #5: Quit trying to be a completionist. I have a habit of playing everything on the hardest difficulty, often resulting in taking forever to finish a game. While most people will fly through a game on Normal in just under the average time, my initial clear is usually considerably longer. That’s because I check every single corner for hidden items, check every corridor for alternate paths, and I’m constantly looking at achievements to see what I can get instead of just concentrating on enjoying the game first and foremost. For the upcoming year, I’m going to play everything on Normal and just play it. Who cares if I miss things? Games are supposed to be about having fun, not performing chores. Quit trying to 100% everything and just play the damn thing for fun. Get achievements later if you like it.
These are just a few of my resolutions, but these are things that I think I can attain. I’m already off to a great start – I haven’t bought anything from this year’s Winter Steam Sale despite seeing some incredible deals. 2012 was a great year for games, and I think 2013 is going to be even better. There’s a very real chance we may finally see the next Xbox or PlayStation. On top of that, Dead Space 3 is right around the corner, as is Crysis 3 and a whole bunch of other incredible looking games. Whatever you’re waiting for, I hope that when the time comes you’ll be able to enjoy it. I know I plan to, and if I stick to these goals I’ll be able to. What type of resolutions have you guys made for this year? Leave a comment below or send me a tweet – @sybaritictrance.